"Tuko sa Madre Kakaw" (or "Gecko in Madre Cacao") is a currently lost Pinyo (Philippine / Filipino cinema) science fiction movie from 1959. And probably one of a handful of such Pinyo films to feature giant monsters from that period. And as such, these are the only known images available from this currently lost production, courtesy of the blog Video48.
Character actor Vic Diaz plays the role of a mad biologist, who plots to conquer the world and destroy mankind, by formulating a serum (or formula) that can increase the size of animals a hundred times. He tests the serum on a ‘tuko’ (gecko), which turns into a giant menacing reptile.
"Tuko sa Madre Kakaw" is reported to be based on the novel by Clodualdo del Mundo, and was serialized in the magazine "Hiwaga Komiks". The finished film also starred Willie Sotelo, Nita Javier, Hector Reyes, Luz Valdez, and Oscar Obligacion, and was directed by Richard Abelardo.
Talented artist and fellow DeviantART member, Elden Ardiente, shared with me that he actually WATCHED this film on television, back in the day.
This brings some hope that "Tuko sa Madre Kakaw" is not completely lost from history. And might find its way onto the internet, like other lesser known fantasy movies in recent years ("The War God" for example). I posted the first half of this article over at my DeviantART page, from which Elden had this to say:
Oh my Word!
I've watched that film when I was very little. It was one of them after-lunchtime movies that no one ever gets to watch, but only when either you're too young for school or you took a sickie from work. I thought that movie was very cool. At this point in my life, the only movie monsters I've seen were "King Kong" (1976), Sinbad Monsters from the trailers, a giant crab from God knows what movie, and this Giant Gecko. And have never known Godzilla yet.
Thanks for showing this; brings back some great memories.
As an historian of giant monsters, to actually know someone who's seen this film, and one who's a well-liked acquaintance from DeviantART, is an awesome coincidence indeed!
So I had to ask Elden some further questions, like if there was more than one enlarged animal in the movie? And how 'Tuko' (The Giant Gecko) was brought to cinematic life?
As far as I remember, I think I was 4 years old that time, it felt like it there was a man in a suit and some puppetry involved. It was convincing enough. I think the Tuko was the only monster there. I remember the mad scientist played by a popular actor - he was quite scary. I'd love to see this movie again!
Major thanks for the information, Elden! I myself would just love to see this film period!
Based on his reply, along with the images posted above, confirms that 'Tuko the Giant Gecko' is a man-in-suit creation. And the stand alone 'mon-star' of "Tuko sa Madre Kakaw".
If more details around this lost Pinyo-Kaiju-Eiga comes about, I'll be sure to share it in a follow-up article. For now however, check out the official Facebook page for "Godzilla: Heritage"; an ambitious fan-film in-development, of which Elden Ardiente is doing creature designs for.
And here's some of Elden's computer-generated renderings, done for the project:, straight from his always impressive DeviantART account:
Club de Monstres Gallery (whom I helped established)
My DeviantART post on the matter